Monthly Archives: August 2008


Otter Creek Badminton Classic

The first annual OCBC was held on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, hosted by Menna and Kurgan.
Three teams played.
First game: Barbara and Nancy won, Zee and Dee lost.
Second game: Darlene and John won, Barbara and Nancy lost and that was it. Since we did not have a clear winner, the Golden Birdie Award will remain with hosts Larry and Barbara. Badminton was called hit and scream in the 1800’s.
I think miss and scream a bit more apt.

Giant puffball, slice into steaks and saute in olive oil until golden.

Nature Log Heard a raven in the morning. Swimming at Seal Harbor Beach we saw a school of thin green eel-like fish dart all together one way, then all together another.The very rainy summer has made the mushroom growth greater than any I have seen in the last 25 years.Variety, size, and sheer abundance are astonishing. Hiked up Cadillac and down. The North Ridge Trail runs too close to the road for my enjoyment, but the South Ridge Trail goes through pitch pines, ledges with views of the outer islands: the Cranberry Islands, Sutton, Baker.


Watersheds and MDI Birds

The Lyceum Lecture series, this year consisting of one lecture, was this evening. Lemonade, rosemary butter cookies, and a good general presentation of how dams have changed our watersheds and impacted fish and so bird populations. Michael Good was the presenter, and he is a gregarious speaker. He confessed he was really not all that prepared for the lecture, but winged it (oh so sorry) endearingly. The next ten years will see 1,000 miles of the Penobscot River waterway reopened through the removal of dams. Anadramous fish populations can increase, and they are bird food. That makes birds happy. The lecture series is one of several fund raising events we hold, hoping to keep the building (The Otter Creek Hall, formerly the church) maintained. And to make it available for people to rent, and to present things the community, both immediate and beyond, will benefit from. And perhaps someday have a small repository of historical artifacts to preserve Otter Creek history. Otter Creek Hall website coming soon, complete with donate on-line function.

Nature Log Dashed out of work to bike the Regular, 28.75 minutes, dead milk adder in the road.


Park Ragers?

Neighbor Larry commented that he sensed the park rangers had shifted from being service-oriented and always happy to help to being authoritarian. He was pulled over driving down the entrance to the parking lot at Great Head, had his plate run, license, registration and insurance checked. He felt the ranger was distant and official instead of simply giving a friendly warning. (He did not have his seat belt on.)

Larger numbers of visitors do demand greater vigilance, but along with the acquisition of firearms, the patrolling rangers seem to have aquired a more menacing attitude. While rangers leading programs seem as laid-back and fun as always, the other rangers are giving visitors less than pleasant memories.

This recent incident where park rangers cuffed summer workers and refused to allow them to relieve themselves for hours seems out of line:
A large group of workers celebrated year-end with an after hours party on a nearby mountain, a tradition for many years. This event included a few employees 18- 20 years old, minors, that is bad. It also included alcohol and marijuana. Also bad. They were however quiet, and did not disturb anyone. Rangers saw the cars, no one had called in a complaint, and went up the path to find the group.

Bangor Daily:
According to Joel Perkins, a supervisor at Jordan Pond House who was at the event, after the group had been at the top of Day Mountain for about an hour, two law enforcement rangers appeared and immediately started yelling profanities as they gave orders. They told everyone to sit down and to produce their forms of identification.

One woman asked to be allowed to go pee and was told in strong terms to sit down, Perkins said. She took exception to the rangers’ tone and said, “I’m not a dog.”

This is when one ranger forcibly threw her to the ground, according to Wild and Perkins. Wild’s response to this — “That’s no way to treat a lady!” — resulted in his being thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious.

Perkins and others said that even though Wild had been knocked unconscious and was bleeding, the rangers were dismissive of his injuries and would not let anyone check Wild to see how badly he was hurt.

My teen, who knows one of the girls involved, said this young girl came to work the next day in tears, having had to sit for hours unable to relieve her bladder, and unable to let anyone know what was going on.

So, kids party, we cannot expect it to be condoned. But neither can we condone violence and profanity. We are lucky to have this great park, and to have it managed and cared for, but violence and intimidation should not be used so lightly.

An aside:
The Range
The park rifle range is right here in the creek! We hear guns going off until after dark, so it must be lit. Jane Smith complains about it, she is 83 years old and it keeps her awake. When I was looking for a place to practice firing a trebuchet, I asked if we could use the range, and learned it is for park employees only. It is at the end of an old road, there used to be a farm called Boyd Farm out there. Some old trails go near it, and last time we went through there we noticed that the circular targets had been replaced with human silhouettes.

Nature Log The dark is getting closer, arriving around 7:30pm. We went for a walk in the dark last night, a little hard to see the telltale signs of horses, but we all came home with clean shoes.


Lighting the Green with Spirit

Small white paper bags glowing with candlelight line the paths, each with a name hand-written in bold marker across the front. Slowly, solemnly, clearly, those names are read out and echo across the night air, rising above the background noise of shoppers and traffic in the town. People pause, listening for a name they know, or wander, reading the names of cancer victims and survivors. Many are from this small community, but some are from far corners of the planet. Respect and love is heavy in the air and the murmur of soft conversations, children playing and a dog bark or whine adds to the sense of connection we all seem to share.

The reading of names alternates with a steel band playing in the gazebo, and a group of young girls hula hoop in one corner. “Carol would have loved that” someone says. Carol Dyer was the children’s librarian at the Jesup Memorial Library in a neighboring town. When she died after battling a brain tumor, a group of women started the annual Carol Dyer Illuminaria. For a donation, the name of a cancer survivor or victim will be written on a white bag, then placed along the many paths that intersect the towns’s Village Green, with a handful of sand and a tea candle. That simple. That powerful.

Benefits American Cancer Society


Bath Tub Tales

No, not Jonathon Swift. (A Tale of a Tub, I read some Swift, somehow never read this one, but what a great title!) Today’s tales of a tub are actually tales with a tub as a major element, shared over dinner in Bar Harbor, the big city, okay, small town, closest to the Creek (Otter Creek).

TUB TALE ONE, Constance
Dennis and Reggie showed Joseph and Constance many fishing tricks, they were delighted to have an audience, and students who hung on every word. But they still didn’t catch many fish. Joseph was away one weekend, and Dennis and Reggie gave Constance all their attention. They helped her cast, loaned her their special lures, encouraged her to keep at it. She really listened, and caught a couple of gorgeous 18-24″ salmon. Beauties. She had a bit of help from her mentors unhooking them, but what a treat to bring home. She couldn’t wait to tell Joseph. He came back a day or so later, and Constance enthused about how Reggie and Dennis had shown her the finer points of casting, and how she had caught two amazing fish, and that they were keepers. Joseph went to the fridge and poked around, “But where are they?” he asked. “You kept them on ice didn’t you?”
“No, no” Constance replied. “Den and Reggie unhooked them for me, but didn’t kill them. And I couldn’t. They’re in the tub.” And indeed they were, swimming confusedly around, but alive and well.

TUB TALE TWO This one is mine
I used to dive, and still like to snorkle a bit. I had developed the habit of increasing my lung capacity by submerging in the tub, and holding my breath for three minutes, relaxing with visions of diving for oysters or sponges, checking my time on my watch. This is just something I do, and never thought about discussing. And so one evening I took a soak, and slipped under the surface for a few minutes. I stay quite still when I do this, I like to watch my hair drifting about. And so, content, quiet and peaceful I let the need for air begin to build, when my arm was yanked and I was pulled dripping from the water, astonished to see a tight-lipped face with worried eyes. “But, but, I was just practicing holding my breath!” I am not convinced he was amused.

Nature Log Twenty-mile bike ride, to Northeast Harbor, Sargeant Drive, saw a Pileated Woodpecker in a tree close to the road, a mink, came home and found a chipmunk in the house. We convinced him to leave. Fog and rain then sun, then fog and rain. Caught trout, released them.


Yee Ha Friday

Except it is raining.

Except the town is filled with tourists.
Except I want to get home to Otter Creek, but D. wants me to get him something at the drug store.
Except I drove around the town twenty minutes looking for parking.
Except when I finally saw a potential spot in a Pharmacy ONLY parking space, the couple said no, they weren’t leaving, they were going into the pharmacy.
Except I watched them head across the street and into the theatre. {sigh}
Home! The weekend!
Nature Log Rainbow, sliver moon, crokkk of a raven.

Junk Mail, or Garbage Post Gets Junked

Island time generally brings to mind warmer climates and more relaxed life styles than we have here in Maine, and yet I find that phrase frequently applicable to some of our ways of doing things. Mail for instance. We lthink nothing of using mailboxes to leave notes to neighbors, or to gift someone with cookies, or return the sweatshirt someone’s kid left in our car. I hear that is frowned upon in more sophisticated areas. Or even risks the possibility of theft. How inconvenient.

Yankee ingenuity is a phrase associated with this climate. And meshes very well with island time.

Some of the smaller islands have lost their post office. And some never had one. Getting to the mainland for mail is a nuisance. Besides, once you are on an island, where time really does seem thicker and slower, why jump into a boat to face the bustle of that one window PO in the nearest mainland village? Islanders are really very cooperative. They leave each other alone, but are quick to be right there if there is a need. And find ingenious ways of dealing with problems. Getting mail when there isn’t a post office. Is such a problem. And so it was arranged that someone would pick up all the mail for everyone on this particular island, haul it out on the ferry, and leave it in a specific garbage can on the island for distribution. You might think that somehow it got tossed out as garbage. But no, this went on for many years, simple, no government regulations, a tiny population who shared the garbage can as their post office. Yes, mail went out too, if properly stamped. All in all, an efficient, no fuss mail service. And everyone knew which garbage can was the mail garbage can.

This casual neighborly system worked on island time. People were just happy they didn’t have to motor out for their mail. Most people that is. One person, who was of course allowed to join this long-standing system, felt it could be improved. And without consulting those who had been carrying on this tradition decided to improve it. Where she came from she probably had fed ex everyday, even Sundays, and maybe even had two mail deliveries a day. So she called the postmaster of the village where the island mail came from. And this official complaint exposed the island-style mail delivery. In spite of an extremely high record for accurate delivery, and requiring no government funding, the little post office in a can was shut down. Wonder if she’ll be invited to the next island pot-luck.

Our Otter Creek post office? Gone, sadly. It was a tiny cubicle in the corner of the market. The seniors used to sit on the step and chat, or in cold weather they would park front of the store in their trucks, talking to each other with the windows down. Now it is a pizza and sub counter. The United States Postal Service was no doubt delighted–one less of those little offices to maintain. And it is unquestionably more profitable for the market But it was a blow to the identity of the community. As capital of the world, center of the universe, we really should have a postmark.